Friday, August 04, 2006

And You Thought 2004 Was Important…

The gubernatorial election in the Great State of Ohio could be one of the most important in the last 100 years. Ken Blackwell, the Secretary of State of Ohio is running against Ted Strickland a five term U.S. Congressman.

Ken Blackwell sits squarely in the camp of Pentecostal/Religiously Conservative wing of the Republican Party and is solidly supported by Pastor Rod Parsley and his World Harvest Church and the Para-political organization he runs called Reformation Ohio. He is also supported by Pastor Russell Johnson’s Fairfield Christian Church and his Para-political group the Ohio Restoration Project. The three of them often appear together.

Pastor Johnson created the Ohio Restoration Project with the goal of enlisting two thousand pastors to commit themselves to each registering three hundred new voters by the end of 2006. He planned to raise a million dollars and to hold meetings across the state to find these “Patriot Pastors.” On his church’s Web site he wrote, “This is a battle between the forces of righteousness and the hordes of hell.”

Needless to say they have not met all their goals. Pastor Johnson had to cancel a planned Ohio for Jesus rally for lack of funds and Pastor Parsley has held only three Reformation Ohio events this year.

Since the fall of 2004, Pastor Parsley, through his Center for Moral Clarity has hosted breakfast meetings every three months. Pastor Johnson has held eight rallies across the state—seven of them featuring Ken Blackwell—and he plans four more before November.

Folks this makes me very, very nervous.

First, it scares me that religious folks are seeking this kind of power over state government.

Second, it scares me that Ken Blackwell is going to be beholden to the “health and wealth gospel” zealots of which Pastor Parsley is a leader.

Third, Ken Blackwell, as Secretary of State, will be presiding over his own election. In Ohio the Secretary of State holds and presides over all State elections including the governor’s race. It strikes me as a clear conflict of interest.

On a side note: This week Ken Blackwell became the first gubernatorial candidate in more than 35 years to refuse to make his tax returns available to the voters. Voters already know that Ken Blackwell became a millionaire while serving in public office. And while his salary is set by the state, Ken Blackwell has refused to release tax returns that would reveal his other sources of income or how much he stands to gain from his own tax proposals.

According to the Toledo Blade, every Ohio gubernatorial candidate in the last 35 years has released his tax returns, including Taft. In April the President and Vice President of the United States released their tax returns, indicating that Americans have a right to know just where their elected officials earn their income.

For a different view of religion and politics check out the link in the title of this post.

1 Comments:

At 9:03 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

I thought you might like to know about a new blog we started called http://www.happyagenda.com. It follows the extremist fundamentalist influence in Ohio politics - especially with a hotly contested governor's race the entire nation is watching.

love your work,
andrea

 

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